ABB Motion Contact Us  

Motion control solutions - Over-wrapper

Back to index

Overwrappers, are typically found on end-of-line packaging processes where finished product is collected and arranged in batches for shipping. Products such as bottles or cartons are sometimes first batched in a tray and finally, strong plastic film is shrink-wrapped over the entire package to secure the products for transportation and subsequent display at the point of sale.

With the many different product types that may require over-wrapping as an automated process, this is an ideal application area for motion control where the motion program can easily accommodate variables such as package size and height, and film length or speed, to easily allow and adjust for different products and package configurations to be batched – on the same line as a continuous process.

The video example shows how the over-wrapping process can be synchronized to a batch of
products - in this case, bottles - on a conveyor

System overview

In this system configuration, a NextMove e100 multi-axis motion controller has three MotiFlex e100 servo drives connected over Ethernet POWERLINK controlling the horizontal and vertical wrap axes that combine to move an arm to spread the film, and the film feed roller mechanism. Some systems use a mechanical film wrap arm with linkages to generate both horizontal and vertical motion from one driven axis.

Film feed must initially advance before the product reaches the conveyor then synchronize in speed until the product passes beyond the film feed position. Film is then advanced rapidly to match the film arm as it passes over the product. Registration of any printed material and correct feed length is all managed by the motion controller.

In this system, a fourth ‘virtual axis’ is used within MINT to control the timing of film cutting which is triggered after the requisite amount of film material is fed. The machine also includes three product conveyors that are each controlled and powered by ABB ACS355 inverters that feed the products through the machine.

The central conveyor has an auxiliary encoder connected to the NextMove e100 to track position and speed. A registration sensor placed at the end of the first conveyor is triggered when the tray and bottles reach it. From these measured positions, the MINT program can initiate motion similar to a ‘flying shear’ that is used to feed the film over the moving bottles, cut the film to length and then retract the arm ready to start the process again when the next batch of bottles are presented. Once the bottles are wrapped they will move and trigger another sensor and NextMove e100 will turn the heater on and control its timing to shrink the wrap around the bottles.

Gated buffer systems - some machine types use gated conveyors to stack up a buffer of product waiting to be wrapped.

Stationary wrap - in this approach the wrap around the product takes place on a short conveyor of approximately the same length as the package, that remains stationary as material is passed over and around by a rotating arm.


Robot 'End of Line' Palletising


The next phase after over-wrapping and labelling is generally handled by a robot due to size, mass and demanding repetitive operation required to palletise the wrapped product.

ABB is a leading supplier of robotic solutions for end of line systems which can be easily integrated with our control systems including our new IRB 460 palletising robot.

More information


The New IRB 460

The new IRB 460


PLCopen Motion solutions

In addition to our MINT solutions we can also offer IEC61131 PLCopen motion solutions with our AC500 PLC range using ProfiNet or EtherCAT to control ABB machinery and micro drives. Safety can be added directly to the PLC using the AC500-S safety processor.

Related motion features :

Homing to a Datum

Homing to a datum (which can be avoided using motors with absolute feedback reducing start-up time)

Registration Control Fast latch inputs feature on our drives and motion controllers and ensure precise registration of product and printed material  
Target Position Change Smooth change of target position on the fly to correct final position of the film feed if print registration is required CAM Profiling CAM motion can be used for continuous smooth motion electronically geared to material feed. CAMs can be downloaded, stored, and modified on demand.  
Electronic Gearing Electronic geared motion including CAM, virtual clutch, advance / retard corrections to synchronize axes as required Flying Shear Segments FLY segments provide constant acceleration geared motion segments and can be used for film feed motion geared to the main product conveyor with less data required than a CAM approach. 'S-ramp' acceleration can also be implemented to reduce film slip / stretch.  

Possible system solutions for this machine type include:


Select or browse possible solutions below
    • Analog / Stepper
    • Ethernet motion
    • Intelligent drives
    • PLCopen
      motion solution

    Simple analog / stepper solution

    Simple systems can be achieved using a combination of stepper drives and / or analog controlled drives. NextMove ESB-2 can provide scalable solutions in this category with its mix of axis interfaces and features.

    • NextMove ESB-2 is capable of controlling 7 axes in total, 3 x analog and 4 x stepper.

    • IO can be expanded using CANopen

    • Registration for printed material can be handled by the 4 x high speed latch inputs of the NextMove controller

    • If an upstream Ethernet connection is required for a networked machine, consider using NextMove e100 which is also capable of analog servo and stepper control.

    • MINT programs can be ported to NextMove e100 or the plug-in MINT controller for MotiFlex drives offering different hardware solutions for different machine demands.

    For more information on NextMove motion products click here

    Analog and stepper motion control

    Scalable solution using real-time Ethernet

    NextMove e100, combined with MicroFlex e100 and/or MotiFlex e100 drives provides a real-time Ethernet based control solution for up to 16 axes of coordinated motion. Alternatively it can be used as a stepper / analog controller with Ethernet connection for factory networking.

    • 1 to 16 axes of interpolated / coordinated motion

    • Mix stepper, analog and real-time Ethernet drives

    • Onboard digital and analog I/O which can be expanded by CANopen

    • High performance motion functionality with high-level Mint programming

    • Single point of programming and configuration / remote access via Ethernet

    • MINT application code can be ported between NextMove controllers and MINT module for MotiFlex e100 to provide scalable solutions.

    For more information on our e100 real-time Ethernet products click here

    POWERLINK solution offers scalable performance using e100 products

    Unique solution using intelligent drives to solve the complex motion functions. This solution can still be combined with a PLC for logic / recipe handling if preferred.

    High duty continuous feed systems involve reciprocal jaw motion that regenerates energy. In this situation systems can benefit from higher power servo control and DC bus energy sharing.

    • The plug-in MINT module for MotiFlex e100 creates a 5 axis (4 Ethernet 1 analog) control solution using drives only, saving on value panel space and cost of external controllers.

    • MotiFlex e100 drives feature a simple DC bus interconnection provides energy absorption from the jaws vertical motion and operate from 180 - 460 V AC for international use..

    • Up to 4 x e100 Ethernet drives and an additional analog controlled axis can be combined to solve high performance continuous motion VFFS machines.

    • Ethernet and Fieldbus connectivity can be added to factory floor connection.

    • MINT application code can be ported between the MINT module and NextMove controllers to provide scalable solutions

    The MINT module is inserted into one MotiFlex e100 which then controls the rest of the system. MicroFlex e100 can be added for lower power axes (1 to 3kW operating on 105 - 250 V AC).

    For more information on our intelligent drives click here

    Intelligent Drive solution saves space and cost

    AC500 PLC solution with IEC61131 and PLCopen motion. High performance, highly modular and scalable solution for leading edge machine solutions

    The ABB AC500 PLC range combines IEC 61131 programming, PLCopen motion functions, and a highly flexible / scalable architecture using EtherCAT with ABB drives for a high performance package.

    • Standards based programming with IEC61131 and PLCopen

    • Real-time EtherCAT performance

    • Distributed I/O expansion including IP67 and wireless systems

    • MicroFlex e150 105-250 V AC and ACSM1 460 V AC and ACS355 for auxiliary axes of less demanding tasks such as conveyors..

    • Ethernet and Fieldbus connectivity can be added for system interfacing to upstream and downstream processes

    For more information on AC500 and PLCopen visit our product pages here






Application notes:

The following application notes are relevant to this application:



Over-wrapper application note

Further application notes are available.